By Mollie Colon and Cassie Hitchcock
Photography by Dominique Clay-Brown
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear healthy cooking?
A lot of people seem to think that it is complicated and time-consuming or that you have to shop at a health food store. Many people also think healthy food is either bland or tasteless. But healthy cooking can be quick and delicious. All it takes is smart shopping at your favorite grocery store, a few simple tips, and some of our tasty tricks!
Start With the Simple Stuff
Try not to fry. Each tablespoon of oil you use when frying adds 14 grams of fat and 100 calories. Try to bake, broil, or grill your food whenever possible.
Get complex; complex carbohydrates that is. Simple carbohydrates like white bread or rice may offer quick energy but have little or no other nutritional value. Multigrain rice and whole wheat or oat bread are much healthier choices. No yolks. When your recipe calls for eggs use just the whites. Substitute 2 egg whites for each yolk.
And, if dairy products are required, try low-fat or fat-free versions of milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Become an informed consumer. Don’t always trust what you see on the front of a product. Things may say reduced fat or light but you need to read all the nutritional facts on the back of the label to get the whole story. Stay away from trans and saturated fats as they clog the arteries and raise bad cholesterol. You also want to buy foods with little or no added salt. And it is always good to see how much protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and sugar a product has.
When choosing red meat or pork, pick loin or round cuts as they tend to have the least fat. When buying poultry, go for the lighter meat such as the breasts (darker meat has much more fat) and don’t forget to remove the skin.
Healthy Shortcuts and Tasty Tricks
Everyone knows that you should eat fruit and vegetables every day, but how many people actually get the right amount or even know what that is? Produce does not stay fresh very long and if you only shop once a week it is gone after a few days. Keep frozen fruits and vegetables on hand to use as needed. They will always be handy to throw in cereal or for a quick side dish for dinner.
Also in your freezer you can have pre-portioned individual servings of fish, chicken breasts, and even turkey burgers. Simply take out what you need before you leave in the morning and put it in the fridge.
The deli section has some great options for fast, healthy meals. You can buy a rotisserie chicken, pre-packaged salad, and steam some of those frozen veggies and dinner is done. The deli also has prepared meals ready to go….just heat and serve. But stay away from creamy and greasy entrees.
So don’t let the term “healthy” scare you out of the kitchen. It can be quick and simple and YOU CAN DO IT!